It’s been three months since our last Witcher news recap, and during these months Netflix has been busy filming the third season of the fantasy series. Stars Henry Cavill, Anya Chalotra, and Freya Allan have been traveling across Europe, the UK, and now Morocco alongside new and returning cast members. Thankfully, a lot of this filming was done out in the open, and despite their tight security measures, Netflix wasn’t able to keep the fans and paparazzi from snapping pictures of the sets, actors, and even of one of the most iconic scenes in the novels. For all that and more, read our July news recap.
Here’s the headlines that we’ll be covering in this article:
- The Witcher Season 3 Reaches a Significant Milestone as filming in Wales concludes
- The Witcher is now filming an iconic Ciri sequence in the Sahara Desert in Morocco
- New Cast Roundup: Fake Ciri +Vilg rumor, Sorceresses, Fabio, 6 new cast
- Blaviken fight coordinator returns in an expanded role for Season 3
- The Witcher’s cast and crew film at multiple locations throughout the English countryside
- SPOILER REPORT: Pictures of two epic fight scenes filmed in Wales for The Witcher Season 3
The Witcher Season 3 Reaches a Significant Milestone as filming in Wales concludes
Season three has been in production for just over three months now, and the cast and crew have been very busy. In fact, they have just about completed filming the first half of the upcoming season.
The Witcher has reached this significant milestone while the production moved to Wales for location filming. It was there that the cast and crew celebrated this milestone during director Gandja Monteiro’s wrap party. Monteiro will be helming the third and fourth episodes of season three, following season two director Stephen Surjik who will direct the first two episodes and has already wrapped himself. As in the first two seasons, season three will have eight episodes, and since the majority of the first four have been filmed – it’s safe to say that the cast and crew are halfway into production of the third season.
That’s not to say that we will be seeing the third season on Netflix in a couple of months: there’s still quite a bit of filming left, and that will be followed by a lengthy period of post-production to accommodate for the editing, music, and CGI magic and monstrosities that are so important to The Witcher and its fans. Right now, a rough estimate suggests that the third season may release in the first half of 2023, which will be a slight change from the show’s usual December release date.
As the show continues filming, we’ll continue to provide updates on the production to keep fans of the Continent satisfied. Thankfully, there’s been a lot of news lately, and even major leaks of two fight scenes involving the show’s main characters filmed on location in Wales. One of these leaked scenes is probably one of the top five most iconic fight scenes in the novels, so it’s safe to say the pictures got fans excited. To avoid spoilers, we’ll cover the details and the pictures of these scenes at the end of this article.
Without getting into the aforementioned spoilers, we will say that filming in Wales took place in three beautiful locations: the scenic beaches of Nash Point and Three Cliffs Bay, and near the rocky lake of Trefil Quarry. Henry Cavill (Geralt), Anya Chalotra (Yennefer), and Freya Allan (Ciri) were all present for filming alongside other cast members.
The Witcher is now filming an iconic Ciri sequence in the Sahara Desert in Morocco
Back in April, when the cast and crew were trotting across various European locations, filming took place in a particularly interesting set raised on a Croatian beach. The location looked very unique and different from the show’s standard forest and castle locales, as it was made to look like a desert. This immediately fueled the speculation that Netflix was filming scenes related to an iconic Ciri storyline from the novel Time of Contempt, where she finds herself lost in the desert. That didn’t seem very likely at the time, as it was too early in production for such a sequence, and fans gave up on the notion that Ciri’s adventure will take place in season three. But now, that has changed.
In the past week, a separate unit of the Netflix production has settled in Erfoud, Morocco. Filming has been taking place near the town, on the outskirts of the Sahara Desert – and filming there is still ongoing. What’s more, only one lead cast member has joined the crew for this filming, Freya Allan who portrays Ciri. From what our sources tell us, filming has taken place on the dunes of the Sahara Desert with Allan and a white horse. This white horse almost certainly portrays a character named Ihuarraquax in the novels. If you haven’t read the books and that sounds like an odd name for a horse, you’re not wrong. He is, in fact, a very odd kind of horse – but we won’t spoil it for you.
New Cast Roundup: Mages and Sorceresses, Fake Ciri, Fabio, and more
The Witcher season two introduced a dozen new characters to the series, shifting the focus and telling a broader tale. Season three is now set to do this again, with a dozen new characters that will make the Continent a richer, more interesting setting for the fantasy series. We have already discussed seven of these castings in our previous news roundup, including the fan-favorite Milva who will be portrayed by Shang Chi’s Meng’er Zhang. Now we have a new list of castings uncovered by Redanian Intelligence.
Rochelle Rose (Boxing Day): Though we have yet to confirm her role, we know she will portray a sorceress in the upcoming season and we believe her character was the one code-named ‘Maida Vale’ in season three’s leaked casting breakdown. There, the character was described as follows: “Plus-sized and powerful, she is a member of a particular group of women you don’t want to cross. Vivacious and self-confident, she’s sure to be a match for anyone she meets in The Witcher.” Though it’s not yet confirmed, we’re quite positive that “Maida Vale” is the show’s Margarita Laux-Antille, better known as Rita, a fan-favorite sorceress from the novels and one of the founding members of the Lodge.
Frances Pooley (Bridgerton): Pooley will portray a character called Teryn, and though there are no characters of that name in the novels, we’re quite certain this isn’t an original character. Pooley happens to look very similar to lead star Freya Allan, and this is no coincidence. One interesting storyline featuring Nilfgaard in the novels involves a character fans refer to as Fake Ciri, and we believe this is who Pooley will play in the show. This is supported by the casting breakdown which described “a student that is brainwashed into believing they’re someone else, a teenage girl convinced she is someone else in order to become a political pawn”. Other details surrounding this character were revealed in a leaked audition which suggests that a dark storyline hinted at in the books may be explored in the show as well.
Stuart Thompson (Unprecedented): Thompson will portray Fabio, a character who appeared in a fun sequence alongside Ciri in Time of Contempt. In this sequence in the novels, Ciri runs off with Fabio and ends up fighting a wyvern in the circus, among other antics. Thompson will appear in an episode directed by Gandja Monteiro, who is helming the third and fourth episodes. Hopefully, this casting means that Ciri and Fabio’s escapades will make it into season three’s early episodes.
Ryan Hayes (Carnival Row): Hayes will portray a member of the Chapter of Mages and one of the leaders of the order on Thanedd Isle, Artaud Terranova. This is a character that wasn’t deeply explored in the novels, and fans thought his role might be given to other established characters such as Stregobor (Lars Mikkelsen) or Artorius Vigo (Terence Maynard), but it seems like the writers are intent on further fleshing out the mage organization in season three.
Michalina Olszanska (1983): Olszanska will also portray a new sorceress character introduced in season three. We don’t yet know if she will portray a character from the books such as Keira Metz or Marti Sodegren or an original character. This casting may be particularly important for fans of the show situated in Poland, where author Andrzej Sapkowski first conceived the series, as she is the first Polish actor to appear in the show since season one.
Besides these secondary characters, the show is casting many more tertiary supporting characters. First up is Lucas Aurelio (The Power), who will play a character named Antony. It’s possible that ‘Antony’ is just a codename. Next are George Wigzell (Bridgerton) and Abe Jarman (The Inside Man), who have both been cast in undisclosed roles.
In other casting news, we have Kate Winter (Boogie Man) as Putney and Martyn Ellis (It’s A Sin, Doctors) as Barker. Both are appearing in episodes directed by Gandja Monteiro, so either 3 or 4. Next we have Harvey Quinn (Recaptured), whose role we don’t know, but is almost certainly a mage as he’s been involved in scenes with a large group of mages. Same goes for Poppy Almond (Blurred Lines), who also plays a character involved with other mages in one way or another.
Blaviken fight coordinator returns in an expanded role for Season 3
To this date, the most impressive fight scene in Netflix’s The Witcher franchise remains the fight from the very first episode, where Geralt faced Renfri and her men in the streets of Blaviken. One of the most crucial contributors to the quality of that fight scene was stunt coordinator Wolfgang Stegemann, who previously worked with Henry Cavill on Mission Impossible. It’s good news, then, that Stegemann will be back in an expanded role for the upcoming season, and once again working closely with Henry Cavill.
Cavill himself has been coy about season three’s fight scenes. In one Instagram post, he mentions that he’s “had the nine shades of hell beaten out of me through two weeks of fight scenes”. We’re not certain if those fight scenes were coordinated by Stegemann or not, as we don’t know in how many episodes he is involved, but we do have a theory about the sequence Cavill mentioned here. It was right around that time that a leak from inside Longcross Studios showed a set built to look like a ruined Elven palace, and we speculated it could be Shaerawedd. If you haven’t read the books, Shaerawedd is the abandoned home of the elven legend Aelirenn, and Geralt and Ciri share a touching moment there in the novels, with a fight against the elven rebels known as the Scoia’tael happening nearby as well. Of course, this could also be a completely different, original scene created for the show.
The Witcher’s cast and crew film at multiple locations throughout the English countryside
In our last recap, we reported that season three will take the Witcher family to the celebrations of Belleteyn, the Spring festival that also happens to be Ciri and Yennefer’s birthday. In the months since our last reported, this sequence was filmed in the Epping forest, alongside many other locations in the English countryside.
We first guessed the scene filmed in Epping forest was Belleteyn when pictures of the set’s many tents and caravans turned up on social media, and we later confirmed this with our sources. Besides Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri, the dwarven warrior Yarpen Zigrin (portrayed by Jeremy Crawford) is also set to appear in this scene, and it’s possible this is how the show will segue into the Shaerawedd storyline we speculated about in the previous part of this article.
As mentioned, Epping forest is one of many, many English locations visited by the Witcher cast and crew in the past few months. In one other forest, series stars Henry Cavill and Joey Batey (the bard Jaskier) were spotted in the background of one behind-the-scenes video shared by the director. In the above picture, you will see Henry Cavill highlighted by the red circle and Batey is just to his left, wearing season two’s red leather jacket. Additionally, Freya Allan’s Ciri was seen filming in Swinley Forest, and filming took place in Kent and Virginia Water Lake as well.
As the show’s headquarters are located in Longcross Studios, this is likely not the cast and crew’s last time exploring the English countryside before production is completed for season three.
SPOILER REPORT: Pictures of two epic fight scenes filmed in Wales for The Witcher Season 3
The most exciting news we shared in the past few months involved a leak from the show’s take on one of the most iconic fights in the books: Geralt’s duel with Vilgefortz. This duel is one fans have been craving to see since the very beginning. Throughout the series, Geralt has fought and overcome monsters and men, yet none (not even the Striga) came close to beating him. That’s set to change once Geralt meets Vilgefortz in the climax of the Thanedd coup in season three.
Thanks to an eagle-eyed photographer, we have many, many pictures of this duel filmed at Three Cliffs Bay in Wales, and they don’t spare any details. First, it’s important to note that we see Mahesh Jadu’s stunt double in these pictures as Vilgefortz, rather than the actor himself, which is why he is not immediately recognizable. Opposite him is Henry Cavill, who continues to insist on filming his own stunts even after his season two injury. In the fight, we can clearly see both of their costumes. Though Geralt seems to be wearing the same shirt he’s been rocking since the first episode of the show (seriously, Geralt, go buy some new clothes), Vilgefortz has a new costume. We can also see that Vilgefortz will be fighting with his iconic staff as in the books, rather than the disposable swords he used in the Battle of Sodden in season one.
If the leaks of this iconic scene weren’t enough, we also have many more pictures from another leaked fight scene featuring the entire Witcher family (Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri) pitted against the Rience (the mage from season two who Yennefer aptly calls “fire-fucker”). Unlike the first big leak, this is not a scene that appeared in the novels, so we’re curious to see what transpires. The pictures here were taken by photographers working for the Daily Mail, and you can clearly see the confrontation and ensuing fight between Geralt and Rience, Ciri and Rience, and also Yennefer in some pictures (we assume she also partakes in the fighting). According to the photographers, the fight concluded with Rience losing and falling to the ground bloodied. The photographers seem to believe Rience dies, but this would be far too early a death for him if the show were to stick to the novels. It’s much more likely that Rience manages to teleport away as he does in the books in the fight at Oxenfurt.
This concludes our latest recap of The Witcher news. Of course, there were many more articles in the past few months we did not address, including details of the Witcher prequel Blood Origin undergoing reshoots with The Witcher season one director Alex Garcia Lopez, a possible reveal of the title for the next Witcher anime film, the confirmed return of composer Joseph Trapanese in season three, and a confirmation that the writers already have Season 4 mapped out. For more frequent updates on all things Witcher, follow Redanian Intelligence on Twitter.